Nearly 100 people were evacuated from their Hillsboro, Ore. homes the evening of Fri., June 4 when a car driven by a teenager ran off the road and struck a natural gas over-pressure relief valve near the intersection of East Main and South Brookwood Ave. The escaping gas vented upward from the damaged valve. There was no fire.
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. when the car driven by a 15-year-old youth struck the gas line, plowed through a fence and hit a house. The young driver, a 22-year-old sister and a 1-year-old baby managed to escape from the car. The couple in the house on Southeast Chelsea Lane also escaped.
The driver later suffered a medical event and was transported to Tuality Hospital. Hillsboro firefighter/medics examined the baby to ensure there were no injuries. The 22-year-old passenger was uninjured. She told responders that the youth was driving the car with a learner's permit. She said he apparently lost control of the car when making a turn from eastbound Main St. to southbound Brookwood Ave. The natural gas valve was located about 30 yards south of Main St.
Hillsboro Fire and Rescue responded to the incident with five engines, a ladder truck and one rescue crew, along with one engine from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. Hillsboro Police officers quickly established a perimeter around the scene and were instrumental in helping to evacuate residents of the neighborhood in a two-block area south and southwest of the scene. Residents on the north side of the incident were asked to shelter in place.
The intersection was shut down for about 90 minutes until Northwest Natural Gas crews were able to assess the situation, don protective gear and shut off the gas to the over-pressure valve. Service to the neighborhood was not impacted.